14 May 2003

Kenya: Germany Pledges Sh2.4b for Water

Nairobi — Germany will give Kenya 30 million euros (Sh2.4 billion) to improve water services.

This follows the conclusion of talks between the two governments last month on future cooperation in the country's water projects, said Mr Klaus Mitzlaff, the director of German Technical Cooperation in Kenya.

The funding, to run between 2004 and 2007, will cover water resource management and sanitation, Mr Mitzlaff said, adding that Kenya had received 170 million euros (Sh13.6 billion) from Germany to support water projectsin the last 30 years.

The two governments had agreed on a strategy for support within policy initiatives such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, the Narc manifesto and the Economic Recovery Strategy.

The official praised the creation of the ministry of Water Resources Management and Development, the passing into law of the Water Act and the development of the National Policy on Water Resource Management.

Mr Mitzlaff spoke as the World Bank, international development agencies and other donors committed themselves to supporting the country's water improvement services.

Representatives of the organisations - under the auspices of the Joint Water Resources Mission - spoke at a forum hosted by the Water minister, Ms Martha Karua, in Nairobi, under the theme; "Towards Development of a Water Secure Kenya."

The forum seeks to mobilise donor's support for water management reforms and development in Kenya.

The Swedish International Development Agency and the Worldwide Fund for Nature are represented at the meeting. The World Bank country director, Mr Makhtar Diop, said Kenya, unlike its neighbours had inadequate water, a situation which he said was bad for the economy.

He urged the government to plan how to curb flooding, which in recent weeks has caused many deaths and loss of property.

A Swedish agency official, Mr Bengt Johansson, disclosed that discussions were on between the organisation and the government on increased support in the water projects from January next year.

Ms Karua said water resource management in the country should be treated as a national priority spelt out in the development plan and economic recovery efforts.

On water situation in Kenya, Mr Johansson said the country was faced with huge challenges as its population has nearly tripled in the past thirty years yet the amount of water coming into the country through the hydrological cycle remained the same.

WWF's Regional Representative Dr Sam Kanyamibwa attributed the problem of fresh water deficiency in Kenya and other countries around the world to continuing degradation of land and water ecosystems.

He disclosed that the organisation was starting an Integrated River Basin Management for Mara River under the Africa Rivers Initiative which seeks to establish sustainable water management in rivers that flow across several boundaries.

Dr Kanyamibwa said the WWF supports the government's efforts to promote sustainable water management system in the country.

Ms Karua, said her ministry was putting in place a National Water Resource Management Strategy and Water Sector Investment Plan to lay foundation for sound water resources management.

She said water resource management in the country must now be elevated as a national priority and given its rightful place in the country's development plan and economic recovery efforts.

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